Iowa soybean leaders worry about farm trade, travel to China

A group of Iowa soybean farmers will travel to China this week in hopes of smoothing over any rift in the trade relationship caused by the Trump administration’s announced tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Iowa Soybean Association President Bill Shipley says now isn’t the time for the U.S. to retreat as a trusted source of soybeans because U.S. commodity prices are sliding and other countries are ramping up production.

Nearly one of every four rows of soybeans grown in Iowa is destined for China. Last year’s Iowa crop was valued at more than $5 billion.

The soybean group’s CEO Kirk Leeds says agriculture trade is often the first casualty in any trade war or retaliation but Iowa farmers want to tell the Chinese personally of their commitment to maintaining trade.